Thursday, December 06, 2001

'Tis season to not be sneezin'

Allergy sufferers can head outdoors

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Good news for allergy sufferers: People can enjoy the outdoors during this unusual warm spell with almost no risk of allergy problems.

        “Unless you're really sensitive, this is the best time of year for people with outdoor allergies,” said Harry St. Clair, air monitoring and analysis supervisor for the Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services.

        The county takes daily measures of several kinds of air pollution, from ozone and particulate readings to pollen and mold counts. Seasonal pollen and mold counts have dipped so low that the agency stopped reporting daily figures Nov. 26, although it does perform spot checks.

        Once the first frost hits, ragweed and other fall-blossoming weeds and flowers stop generating pollen. A spot of warm weather cannot make the pollen come back.

        “All the ragweed plants are dead and not producing pollen anymore,” Mr. St. Clair said.

        Mold is a somewhat different story, but still not a risk. Mold does start growing again in warm, damp weather. But as of Monday, a spot check of mold counts revealed increased but still-low numbers.


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